THE HOLY BIBLE IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Dennis L. Cuddy, Ph.D.
The national media has recently looked at the subject of teaching the Bible in public schools, focusing upon a newly published book, THE BIBLE AND ITS INFLUENCE, by the Bible Literacy Project (BLP). The BLP endeavors "to encourage and facilitate the academic study of the Bible in public schools." However, statements in the new book raise some serious questions.
For example, it states that most Christians and Jews don't read Genesis as a literal account of God's creation of the world, and asks students to "look up some examples of other ancient literature and mythology of the origins of the world." Because of the word, "other," one could get the impression that Genesis is mythology.
One also reads that "it is always good to remember not to try to apply current standards to the biblical accounts." The word, "always," here could mean that a standard of being honest today should not be applied to any biblical account.
Students are asked "if God allows evil things to happen, can God honestly be described as good?" And then they are told, "This puzzle remains essentially unsolved." Actually, there is no puzzle. For God to be "good," we could not be His slavish puppets. Thus, allowing man to have "free will" requires the "allowance" of man's choice to commit evil acts, though God doesn't "cause" the evil acts.
The BLP had already been under scrutiny by many Christians and Jews when its THE BIBLE & PUBLIC SCHOOLS: A FIRST AMENDMENT GUIDE was endorsed by the extremely liberal National Education Association. The BLP's partner in that project was Charles Haynes, senior scholar of the Freedom Forum's First Amendment Center. And the BLP's press statement said that Haynes "was able to craft a document emphasizing the common ground shared by a broadly diverse group of people."
Charles Haynes had come to the attention of traditional Christians and Jews when he worked for Americans United for Separation of Church and State. They wondered why he would be on the advisory board of The Pluralism Project when also on the board was Wicca priestess Margot Adler.
Haynes also had been executive director of First Liberty Institute and had helped develop the curriculum, "Living With Our Deepest Differences," for the controversial Williamsburg Charter Foundation. The curriculum included a variation on the notorious "lifeboat" game where the students determined who lives or dies. It also pronounced that the peace and women's movements were among "the most glorious accomplishments" in U.S. history. And it asked students such privacy-invading questions as what changes there have been in their parents' and families' beliefs.
The curriculum at its core advocated the development of "a common vision for the common good." These are terms commonly used by communitarians, who believe individual needs and rights should be de-emphasized or balanced against the interests of the community or society as a whole. Primary promoter of the curriculum was Os Guinness, who is today on the BLP advisory board along with communitarians Jean Bethke Elshtain and Mary Ann Glendon, plus Ellen Frankel who co-edited THE COMMUNITARIAN CHALLENGE TO LIBERALISM. The aforementioned 4 individuals constitute a majority of the BLP advisory board, and on the BLP board of directors is communitarian David Blankenhorn. Elshtain, Glendon and Blankenhorn all signed "The Responsive Communitarian Platform," which stated: "There is little sense in gun registration.
What we need to significantly enhance public safety is domestic disarmament....We join with those who read the Second Amendment the way it was written, as a communitarian clause, calling for community militias, not individual gun slingers."
Why would the BLP, producer of THE BIBLE AND ITS INFLUENCE for our schools, choose to be advised and directed by individuals with such views?
© 2005 Dennis Cuddy - All Rights Reserved
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Dennis Laurence Cuddy, historian and political analyst, received a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (major in American History, minor in political science). Dr. Cuddy has taught at the university level, has been a political and economic risk analyst for an international consulting firm, and has been a Senior Associate with the U.S. Department of Education.
Cuddy has also testified before members of Congress on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice. Dr. Cuddy has authored or edited twenty books and booklets, and has written hundreds of articles appearing in newspapers around the nation, including The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and USA Today. He has been a guest on numerous radio talk shows in various parts of the country, such as ABC Radio in New York City, and he has also been a guest on the national television programs USA Today and CBS's Nightwatch.
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They wondered why he would be on the advisory board of The Pluralism Project when also on the board was Wicca priestess Margot Adler.